Quilts: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum

November 2, 2012 - February 2, 2013
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Quilts: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum

The Figge is pleased to present a special exhibition of 27 priceless quilts from the collection of the American Folk Art Museum (AFAM), opening November 3, 2012, and continuing through February 3, 2013. Featured will be classic examples of many major quilt types from the beginning of the 19th century to the end of the 20th century, including wholecloth, whitework, pieced, appliqued and album quilts, and a selection of Amish and African-American pieces, all drawn from the AFAM’s celebrated collection.

As curator Elizabeth V. Warren explains, “The present exhibition highlights the best of the best, quilts that represent the finest examples in a variety of techniques, time periods and regions.” The Figge will present an array of public programs and films in conjunction with the exhibition.

The American tradition of quiltmaking dates back to colonial times when English immigrants sewed heavy woolen bedcovers for the New England winters. As a greater variety of fabrics and threads became available, and the practice of sewing bedcovers spread through the nation, quiltmaking evolved into a rich and diverse artistic tradition.

While countless quilts were used and washed into oblivion, many remarkable examples have survived, and are now admired both for their visual beauty and their extraordinary craftsmanship. The quilting tradition—using remnants of fabrics from clothing and other sewing projects, gathering together for the quilting bee, and adorning the bed with the finished quilt—has come to epitomize the domestic side of the “pioneer spirit” in America. Today, quilting is a vibrant art form practiced by an estimated 20 million men and women around the world.

Organized by the American Folk Art Museum, New York

This exhibition is on view through February 3, 2013.

Tours of Quilts will be offered every Sunday at 1:30 through January 20th

Companion Events

Quilters Appreciation Day
Thursday, January 17

10 am–7 pm Quilt Appraisals
5-7 pm Warm up with Quilts
7 pm “Quilts as Art—or Not”

Celebrating Black History Month
Saturday, February 2

11 am Quilts: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum Tour
Noon-2 pm Quilting a Community in the Figge Studios
2 pm Quilts Lecture

Documentary Series
Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics (shown three episodes at a time)
See a video about this series.

Sunday, January 13, 2013 2:30–4 pm
Ep. 4: What is Art?
Ep. 5: Gee’s Bend: “The Most Famous Quilts in America
Ep. 6: How Quilts Have Been Viewed and

Sunday, January 20, 2013 2:30–4 pm
Ep. 7: Empowering Women One Quilt at a Time
Ep. 8: Quilt Nation: 20,000,000 and Counting!
Ep. 9: Quilt Scholarship: Romance and Reality

Lureca Outland (c. 1904–2009), Boligee, Alabama, Wedding Ring Interpretation Quilt, 1991, cotton, wool, and synthetics, 82 x 75", collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, Museum purchase made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, with matching funds from the
Great American Quilt Festival 3, 1991.13.5

Elizabeth Schumacher Leece (1867–1956), Kansas City, Missouri, Tulip and Rose Bouquet Quilt, 1930–1945, cotton, 100 1⁄4 x 84 1⁄2", collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, Gift of Marian Baer, 1984.11.2. Photograph by Gavin Ashworth, New York

Past Exhibitions

Orientation Gallery
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